Belles ride momentum for Spring Fling
Joe Everett | Friday, April 15, 2016
Coming off a strong performance at the Trine Spring Classic last weekend, Saint Mary’s will look to keep on rolling at the Illinois Wesleyan Spring Fling tournament this weekend in Normal, Illinois.
The Belles played their best match of the spring season at Trine where they finishing second out of 13 teams, edging out rival Ferris State. Their competition looks to be even fiercer this weekend, as the Spring Fling will have a field of 21 teams. Belles head coach Kim Moore expects this upcoming tournament to be a tough challenge for the Belles, but sees it as yet another opportunity for her team to improve.
“I am looking for our team to go into this weekend riding the momentum of a second place finish last weekend,” Moore said. “The weather is supposed to be some of the best we have played in this spring, so I definitely expect our scores to be lower.”
This weekend’s tournament will be the Belles’ final preparation for the MIAA spring tournament in late April, where the Belles will compete to qualify for nationals. Although Moore sees every tournament as important for getting the Belles prepared for either conference play or NCAA play, she doesn’t deny the importance of the Spring Fling for her team’s mindset and preparation as they push towards qualifying for Nationals.
“I think this weekend will be extremely important for us to play well,” Moore said. “Playing well would really give us a confidence boost going into our first NCAA [automatic qualifying] round at Olivet. It could really set the tone for what is to come.”
Several key players have set the tone for the Belles this season, starting with junior captain Ali Mahoney, who led the team last weekend with a score of nine-over-par 81 and was named to the all-tournament team for her fifth place finish. Moore also highlighted the contributions of junior captain Courtney Carlson and sophomore Kelsey Conkright and what they’ve brought to the team this spring.
“[Carlson] has been one of the most consistent players this spring and she is someone I can really count on, always posting a helpful score for our team,” Moore said. “Another person who has really stepped out this spring is [Conkright]. I’ve always had the confidence that she would be one of our consistent contributors, but this spring, with a couple of our players studying abroad, she has took it upon herself to step in and be the contributor we need.”
The three Belles will look to lead Saint Mary’s to another strong performance this weekend. The Illinois Wesleyan Spring Fling is a two-day tournament and will be held on Saturday and Sunday at the Ironwood Golf Club.